Rising light: Zachary Kracht and lighting inspired by the nature of things

26 October, 2017

Written by: Harley Anderson

Zachary Kracht’s interest in photography goes way back to a backpacking trip in the hills of Pennsylvania he took when he was about 14 years old. While on that memorable trip he started snapping pictures with a point-and- shoot camera. In time he picked up his first DSLR, followed by a speed light, a light stand, an umbrella, and so-forth. Before you know it he was a budding photographer.

Zachary Kracht’s interest in photography goes way back to a backpacking trip in

the hills of Pennsylvania he took when he was about 14 years old. While on that

memorable trip he started snapping pictures with a point-and- shoot camera. In

time he picked up his first DSLR, followed by a speed light, a light stand, an

umbrella, and so-forth. Before you know it he was a budding photographer.

 

As luck would have it his local high school offered photography classes where he

began experimenting with basic lighting techniques- first using hot lights and later

using speed lights.

 

During his senior year in high school Kracht – or Zach as he’s most commonly called, began researching colleges that offered advanced classes in photography and after filtering through his list of options chose Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.

 

A key deciding factor in choosing ASU over other schools that offered comparably thorough photography programs had to do with the school’s proximity to mountains, rivers, and trails, each of which play important meditative roles in Zach’s life.

 

Zach was fortunate enough to be able to assist local photographers – including some of his instructors, during his off time. In addition to real-life on-the- job training, by assisting he was able to use and learn studio and location lighting using equipment from a number of manufacturers. Even better was that when these studios weren’t in use, he was able to use them to see how far he could push his own creative and technical limits.

 

In the studio Zach prefers Profoto D-series power packs. When shooting on location he relies on Profoto B1 Off-Camera flash and Profoto B2 Off-camera Flash systems.

 

Having used lighting systems from other manufacturers, Zachary appreciates the consistency of power and levels of control he gets from each of the Profoto lighting systems.

 

He’s also quite attuned to the subtle and not-so- subtle differences between the many light shaping tools Profoto offers and he uses them based on his immediate needs.

 

Some of Zachary’s favorite light shaping tools include Profoto OCF Magnum Reflectors, the Profoto Softlight Reflector WhiteProfoto Umbrella Deep Whites with diffusers, and the Profoto RFi Softbox 2x3’, often with grids.

 

When asked if he’s had any art or graphic design training he surprisingly answers ‘No’. The answer is surprising based on the attention to detail and highly structured composition that’s common to a number of Zach’s photographs regardless of subject. For somebody who claims zero art or graphic design training, Zach’s creative sensibilities are well tuned.

One of Zach’s boldest series of photographs is the 14 color-themed studio narratives he produced this past summer.  Zach designed, built, and staged each of the 8’ x 8’ studio sets, each of which contained objects and models monochromatically painted in a way that illustrates the mood of the dominant color.

 

The final images are striking conceptually, graphically, and compositionally, and they work in concert with one another quite well.

 

Zach is currently in his senior year and upon graduating his plans are to continue assisting other photographers in order to better understand the dynamics of not only running a photo studio, but equally important - running a business.

 

Once out on his own Zach plans on concentrating on commercial portraiture but is in no way locked into focusing on any specialty at this point in time, nor is he locked into building his business in any specific city or locale. When pressed to describe a dream assignment Zach gets a bit more specific – he’d like to illustrate TV and movie posters. That said, a box of donuts say Zachary Kracht ultimately settles within commuting distance of LA or NY.

 

To see more of Zach’s photography visit his website.

 

Written by: Harley Anderson

Products used in this story

Magnum Reflector

A hard reflector that offers power and finesse

Softlight Reflector White

Our classic beauty dish